How to add color to a black and white outfit

Red, fur and blue!

I’ve been seeing an advertisement on TV lately for the US Navy. The tag line is something like “To get to you, they have to go through us.” It’s pretty effective! I’m an American citizen now but wasn’t for most of my life and seeing that sent shivers through me. I’ve come to love and appreciate my adopted country. I’ll always be Chinese and am very proud of its culture, history and accomplishments. And I certainly don’t agree with America, Right or Wrong; if we do something stupid, I have no problem calling it stupid! But all in all, I love my life since I’ve moved here, especially during the summer. I’ve eaten a hotdog while watching the Detroit Tigers play on July 4th and celebrated with the crowd when they shot off the fireworks after the game. Of course China invented those fireworks but I didn’t make a big deal out of it! Anyway, this American girl likes to show off a little red, white and blue style once in a while!

How to add color to a black and white outfit
How to add color to a black and white outfit

You may have noticed that I have a bit of a thing about fur. The fur look seems to have magical powers when you add it to almost any outfit; it can instantly raise your fashion bar up a notch. And you don’t need to worry; most of my pieces are faux fur so no animals have to go naked to make me look good! I’ve featured this black and white fur vest in a few outfits. This time I went with the black & white palette pretty much full time by pairing it with a white irregular V hem blouse and my super trusty black leather skinny.

Red booties street style
Red booties street style

Hmmm, this blog is called ColorAndGrace so that must mean…that signature burst of color of course! It’s on the accessories and in your face this time. Bright red heels, a burgundy wool hat and bright red gloves virtually glow with movement as I walk the walk. Many women don’t fully appreciate the role of gloves in their wardrobe. These five fingered fashion machines do lots more than just keep your hands from freezing. Fashion is all about the details. Without my rich red leather gloves I would have missed the chance to tie in this look from head to toe. They help echo and unite the splashes of color. And when your base is mostly black & white you can feel safe and fearless with adding another color burst in addition to the red. I often suggest that a 3 color combination is just right for most outfits but here the black & white sort of don’t fully count which means you can take some chances. So my color total added up just right by grabbing my bright royal blue purse to pop against the red of the gloves. This combination of colors really breaks away from any serious feel you might get from the Black & White foundation. Red, White & Blue. It’s not just for flags anymore!

Red leather gloves
Red leather gloves
wine wool felt hat
wine wool felt hat
black and white faux fur vest
black and white faux fur vest
blue bag
blue bag
How to add color to a black and white outfit
How to add color to a black and white outfit
How to add color to a black and white outfit
How to add color to a black and white outfit

Wool hat @Forever 21
Fur vest @Neiman Marcus
Leather skinnies @Nordstrom Rack
Red heels @DSW
Red gloves @TJ Maxx
Blue Purse @Saks 5th Avenue

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How to style a floral blouse

Add a cup of flower.

I got a visit from an old friend this week. One of my orchids finally flowered! I have quite a few plants around our home and love the little reminders of summer when I’m looking out at the white blanket of snow on the ground. I have four orchids and the last petals fell off months ago. I’m not sure why or how they decide to get their bloom on but so far only one of the four got the urge. I’ll take what I can get! In China I lived in apartments for the last several years before moving to America so never had the chance or the desire to have a garden. But now that I have a yard I’ve developed quite a green thumb. I love working in my garden and can pull weeds for hours! This kind of activity is great for the body and soul. Fresh air, sunshine, no need to think too much and you can actually see the results of your labor. And then of course there’s the reward of sitting in the shade sipping on a cool adult beverage!

floral blouse
floral blouse

I adore bold colors so when I saw this floral blouse, it was love at first sight. The colorful mix of flowers, leaves and stems over the dark background form such a statement print I knew I had the base for a very cool ensemble. There’s nothing better than bringing a bit of summer into a winter wardrobe to warm things up a bit. I love to use the colors of the ocean or a garden to take the chill off of winter white and stark grey or black. To me staying in the chic zone is always my goal. Luckily it’s a pretty big target and can range from tough to elegant. I think today’s outfit hits more towards the elegant feel which is just where I was aiming!

How to style a floral blouse
How to style a floral blouse

One of my style laws is that less is more. Since this blouse has so many flowers, colors and prints I paired it with a crisp white midi-length skirt. I’ve mentioned before that the two directions to choose from are staying in the same color family or going with a contrasting color to complement your cornerstone piece. I could have pulled out one of the colors from the floral print but here I thought the contrast color path was more appealing. The blouse is a bit on the dark side, so to keep in the spirit of contrast I went with light for the skirt. So far, so good. I wanted to keep the whole look clean and elegant so went with basic black tights and black heels. But I wouldn’t be ColorAndGrace without my signature bloom of color so pulled in my just right red purse. It’s got some tasteful and welcome bling with shiny metal corner trim. I’m crazy busy lately it seems but always try to pause long enough to put together the right look. After all, you still have to make time to smell the flowers!

How to style a floral blouse
How to style a floral blouse
White midi skirt
White midi skirt
How to style a floral blouse
How to style a floral blouse
Red Michael Kors purse
Red Michael Kors purse
Ralph Lauren floral blouse
Ralph Lauren floral blouse

Floral Blouse @Ralph Lauren @Lord & Taylor
Skirt @White House/Black Market
Red Purse @Michael Kors
Black Heels @Nordstrom Rack
Cheers!

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